In 1956, the popular French magazine France Football pioneered a method to adjudge the best in the world of football and lovingly called it — Ballon d’Or. Little did they know that the same would turn out to be a parameter to determine the best for years to come.
However, even though unintentional, the Golden Ball aka the Ballon d’Or developed into a “strikers’ monopoly”. It’s been 65 years since the induction of the most coveted individual trophy (Ballon d’Or) in the realm of football but alas! We can establish that many deserving players lost out on the same for not being on the scoresheet.
Unfortunately, given the nature of the sport, goals are the factors that etch into the minds of the watchers. For the same reason, goal scorers are remembered for a long time. And that one ‘crucial save’ is often overlooked.
Lev Yashin is the only goalkeeper within the history books of Ballon d’Or to have taken the trophy home. In conclusion, if it was for the stellar performance over the season, quite a few men who stood between the sticks like a guardian angel deserved the Ballon d’Or.
Let us take a look at five of such Ballon d’Or deserving goalkeepers.
#5 Peter Schmeichel (Manchester United/Denmark) – 1992
During Manchester United’s golden era, there was a man of intimidating stature who guarded their goal post. That man was none other than Peter Schmeichel!
It felt like each corner of the goalpost was within the reach of this 6 feet 3 inch goalkeeper. The goalkeeper, who was termed the ‘bargain of the century’ by Manchester United‘s main man Alex Ferguson, captained his side to a dramatic 1999 Champions League victory.
The year 1992 was phenomenal for the Danish shot-stopper. His heroics saw the Red Devils finish second in the Premier League and the Football League Cup for the first time in the club’s history.
It didn’t stop there, the same year he brought the Euro trophy home with Denmark and was voted the best goalkeeper by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) but unfortunately, no Ballon d’Or.
#4 Jens Lehmann (Arsenal) – 2004
An eccentric personality on and off the pitch, Germany’s Jens Lehmann was a topliner quite often during his stay in England.
Lehmann’s expertise went beyond ordinary goalkeeping skills that included agility, speed and strength.
An amalgamation of leadership and experience, Lehmann often held the thread to his team’s back-line, which responded as per his command and deflected the opposition’s firing line.
2004 was historic not just for his club but within the world of football too. The Gunners lifted the domestic trophy following an error-free season that saw zero loss! And, undoubtedly, the German had a massive hand (and also legs) behind it, displaying some crucial saves throughout the season to gift Arsenal a campaign without defeat.
He remains one of the favorite goalkeepers to have missed out on the